July 16, 2013

I love my baby, but...

"Stop whining. I can't understand you when you're whining". Is what I tell my children, almost every single day. And it's what I say to the computer screen almost every single day. No. Not because I'm crazy (okay maybe a little, I do talk to my computer after all. But the way I see it, the real question is - does he answer? and as long as the answer is no, I'm in the clear), but because I am reading yet another post in yet another of what seems like hundreds of thousands of blogs that grind my nerves. I have the same problem with books, even if it's a lousy one, I can't chuck it in the middle. If I start it, I have to see it through. So I keep on reading, getting irritated more and more, until finally I can put it aside and go on with my life. Only lately it seems that all those blogs aren't letting me go on with my life. They stay with me, and continue annoying me even after I close the computer lid. And I've had a lousy week. So I decided that I rather take it out on the blogosphere and not my kids, or my usual choice - chocolate. Well, I did decide that AFTER eating the Ben & Jerry's so maybe that one isn't entirely true.
I have an axe to grind with my generation. All those late 20s, 30something, early 40s people who, let's face it, behave worse than their kids. We, as a whole, belong to the Shortcuts & Excuses Generation. Busy running from any and all responsibilities like a scared rabbit, busy looking for someone else to blame for our mistakes, for the way our lives turned out, for everything we can, busy imagining how it could've, should've, would've been better in a different city / job / relationship, busy trying to find the shortcuts for how to be rich / thin / famous in 90 days and without working hard, busy telling ourselves that it's fine, life will wait, time will stop, and how 40 is the new 20 or something like that. Well, it is not. And I've had enough.
I know not everyone in my generation is like that, but the very sad truth is a lot of people are, and plenty of them have blogs in which they think it's okay to let loose. Which is absolutely true. Right up to the point where they start blaming their kids. It drives me mad, because, seriously - how dare you pick on someone half your size? What you are doing has a name, you know, and not a really nice one at that. I've come to recognise them at first sight, those posts. They are usually written in blogs that have a huge photo of a baby at the top, and right below they have an about me that says how they are "struggling", "used to be this or that", "scruffy" or "bored to tears". The posts will have sentences like "I love my baby, but", "I sometimes wish I never had my baby", "I don't like my kids", and of course "I sacrificed so much of my life for my baby", they have catchy names like "20 things to do before getting pregnant" or "what you'll miss after having kids","what to do with a toddler while hang-over" or "why your life is ruined". They all advise you to buy very large yoga-pants, never shower, and get used to having no life, no brain and no friends. After all you've had a baby. And they sign it with an all knowing "I've been a mum for 14 weeks. I cracked the whole thing". Which is like saying, yes I went to nursery, I don't need to go to university. I know everything there is to know.
This things annoy the hell out of me. I read it and all I hear is a child having a tantrum. I sometimes wish I could send all those posts to a time-out.
I read these posts and I want to pull my hair out. Because of the mother who got shit-faced drunk with a toddler in the house and thought it's really funny and not irresponsible, because of the father who hates spending time with his 4 kids and keeps having more of them, because of the mother who announced to the world that she hide in the bathroom while alone in the house with her toddler and he doesn't know where she is, because of the mother who said life is over when you have a baby, because of the mother who stayed 8 years as a stay-at-home-mum and hated every moment and her kids for it, and announced that every stay-at-home-mum lives on prozac and wine, because of every mother who announce nonchalantly "I love my baby. But...". There shouldn't really be a but like that. You shouldn't really live your life resenting your children. First of all because they don't deserve it, and second of all because they don't stay tiny forever. They will grow up and know. And the price you will pay then is overwhelmingly high.
I read all these posts and I wonder, when did we stop growing up? When did we stop taking responsibility for our actions? for our choices? Because that is what having a baby is - a responsibility and a choice. Nobody stood with a gun to any of those women's head and said - have a baby now! No, what happened, more than once, is that it fit their schedule. What happened to - you should want a baby with all your heart before you make one? How have babies become one more item on the todo list?
These posts often get a lot of publicity, and a lot of LOLs and LMAOs and other ho-ho-ho and ha-ha-ha comments, and they can give the impression that they are right. That that is the way people should live, or behave or think after having a baby. That life really is this. Are life really over after having a baby? Should you really expect to be filled with your baby's body fluids all day long? Does having a baby really mean you should never wear jeans or make-up? Will you never again have a good night sleep? Does it really matter so much if you breastfeed or bottle-feed? Do you really have to sacrifice to be a good parent?
The answer is no. I don't presume to know a lot. But I do know this - yes, babies are a lot of work. But they grow up. Make sure you do too.
Orli, Just Breathe - I love my baby, but...


  1. I'm with you! Although I do feel sympathy for women (and men) who just can't get the balance back in their lives. Having children is such a huge responsibility, and our society doesn't provide us with a decent framework to come to terms with that, to grow and to learn along side our children. So we complain, and try to make each other feel better by telling stories of what a rubbish parent we are, instead of trying to find solutions, building better communities to support each other and learning to be family that goes beyond blood-ties. I don't know if there ever was any of this for parents, but I'm trying my best to build family in my community. Keep encouraging.

    1. Thank for commenting Nicola :) I know a lot of people struggle with finding the new balance in life after having a baby. Heck, it took me almost a year to feel completely in control again, and to find my way back to "me" after having my first child. So yeah I think there definitely should be conversations on the difficulties, and on finding that balance. I am against all sorts of mummy-competitions, portraying an "all is perfect" facade, and people not getting the support and help they need. Having said that, my post was about a different phenomena. It was about those people who instead of trying to find that balance, or grow-up, or take responsibility, just blame their kids for the way their life turned out, because it's always easier to blame someone else than take that responsibility. Especially when that same someone is tiny and can't blame you back. I don't find getting drunk when you are in charge of a toddler funny, or a way to restore balance, or to find yourself. I find it irresponsible, and I don't think it should be taken as a joke, or as something that is encouraged. I don't find saying "because I have kids I can't...." to be a coping mechanism. As I see it, and it's just my opinion, it's throwing the responsibility for your life on someone else, and you end up resenting them. There are people who sacrifice for their kids, there are woman who suffer PND, and these people who really do need help and support hide their difficulties, hide their guilt and fear and shame. These are the people we should strive to find and help. Not the one who choose to blame their baby for not being able to get drunk and party all night anymore.

    2. I do agree wholeheartedly that many people just need to grow up! I'm always hesitant to judge, but I also wince when I hear certain of my friends complain that their two year old was jumping on them when they had a hangover... It's one thing if it's once, but when it's frequent... I was really challenged by your post to look at my family positively. Not to think of what I 'could' be doing. I have five children and I love them all to bits, and I'm very fortunate that I am able to be a 'stay at home' mum. At times I don't appreciate that, so thanks for the reminder! How sad it is that so many people can't just enjoy where they're at right now - and enjoy their children.

    3. Hey Orli
      Just reading your profile and realised we have a lot of experiences in common! I lived in Gibraltar for a wonderful few years, my two year old has Albinism, although her vision is mostly fine and I love London (my home town!)

    4. I did come off as a bit judgey didn't I? God, but it was a week from hell, and I was so angry at the world. I didn't even notice. But now I am a bit ashamed. Maybe just a little... :)
      I think we all have days we don't appreciate our lives, or when we look at others and think - how dare they complain? walk a mile in my shoes and all that... Like I said - bad week... But I have to say WOW, 5 children? WOW. I truly am in awe. I am glad that my post was able to have some positive affect and not just be judgey...
      And anyway, I am glad you found me :) It's so funny how many similarities we have! it is such a small world :)
      If you need help with the albinism, in the past 6 months I've accumulated lots of info (most of it is in different parts of the blog, but will some day be better organised...)

  2. Wow, I'm reading this and panicking that my blog is one of 'those' blogs! I do hope not. I think sometimes we are tempted to write these posts in order to get a laugh and sometimes we even thing these things but actually, maybe we should question whether we're getting a laugh at our kids' expense. I do think that there's a lot of people of our generation who think the cup is half empty all the time and that life has dealt them a raw deal. I do however think there's something in being honest and real with one another, parenting isn't always a bed of roses, but we need to strike a good balance.

    1. As I do read you blog, I know it's not. I agree that parenthood isn't easy, and that we should say that. We should talk about the difficulties. We should "air our dirty laundry in public" so to speak. we shouldn't stay in the dark feeling miserable and alone. But it's the what do we do with the knowledge that matters. And somewhere along the hundredth post about someone wishing they never had their baby I started to get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that maybe it's become "excepted" today, to treat / talk / write about your child as you would an old dress. I exaggerate, but hopefully your getting my point.
      It's a fine line between discussing the difficulties and feeling it's okay to blame our kids and not having to take responsibility for our lives. It is a subject close to my heart, and one that really doesn't end well.

  3. Brilliant article! I love my baby but! The answer I come up with is a little different though! If someone has a "but" find out why, change things around what your life is like at the moment and find more satisfaction to make sure there isn't one!

    1. Thanks Nikki :) both for visiting, and for your comment. I agree, if you have a "but" there, you should take responsibility, look at your life and check why that is.


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